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Jay Currie

One Damn Thing After Another

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Palestine Civil War Watch

Mr Sharif, who masterminded Palestinian plane hijackings in the 1970s and recruited Carlos the Jackal, said at this home in Ramallah that he still expected Hamas to join Fatah in declaring a ceasefire in the conflict once it had satisfied its demand for revenge.

He said Hamas had agreed to take part in a meeting to discuss a ceasefire in Cairo next week. He also predicted that there would be a showdown between Fatah, the secular movement which runs the Palestinian Authority, and Hamas, the Islamist movement. "Yes, definitely," he said. "At the right time."

He said that Mr Arafat would not embark on tackling Hamas until he was convinced that the US was serious about the peace process.
The Troll of Ramallah (TM) is going to tackle Hamas. Right.

Shoot to Save

In the early months of the intifada, this macho pretense was sustained by the Israeli government's tacit decision not to target terrorist ringleaders, for fear such attacks would inspire massive retaliation. Yassin and his closest associates considered themselves immune from Israeli reprisals and operated in the open. What followed was the bloodiest terrorist onslaught in Israeli history, climaxing in a massacre at Netanya in March 2002. After that, Israel invaded the West Bank and began to target terrorist leaders more aggressively.

The results, in terms of lives saved, were dramatic. In 2003, the number of Israeli terrorist fatalities declined by more than 50% from the previous year, to 213 from 451. The overall number of attacks also declined, to 3,823 in 2003 from 5,301 in 2002, a drop of 30%. In the spring of 2003, Israel stepped up its campaign of targeted assassinations, including a failed attempt on Yassin's deputy, Abdel Aziz Rantisi. Wise heads said Israel had done nothing except incite the Palestinians to greater violence. Instead, Hamas and other Islamic terrorist groups agreed unilaterally to a cease-fire.

In this context, it bears notice that between 2002 and 2003 the number of Palestinian fatalities also declined significantly, from 1,000 to about 700. The reason here is obvious: As the leaders of Palestinian terror groups were picked off and their operations were disrupted, they were unable to carry out the kind of frequent, large-scale attacks that had provoked Israel's large-scale reprisals. Terrorism is a top-down business, not vice versa. Targeted assassinations not only got rid of the most guilty but diminished the risk of open combat between Israeli soldiers and Palestinian foot soldiers.
opinion journal
Bret Stephens editor in chief of the Jerusalem Post underscores why targetted assasination of top terrorist leaders works. He has this crazy idea that Palestinians are people who care about their own lives and the lives of their loved ones just as much as the Israelis do. So, when their terrorism puts their own lives at risk they cut back on their terrorism.

(He also passes on this rather horrible story about the Palestinian mother of two who wanted to strew her body parts about.
Indeed, when one looks closely at just who the suicide bombers are (or were), often they turn out to be society's outcasts. Take Reem Salah al-Rahashi, a mother of two, who in January murdered four Israeli soldiers at the Erez checkpoint on the Gaza-Israel border. In a prerecorded video, Rahashi said becoming a shaheed was her lifelong dream. Later it emerged she'd been caught in an extramarital affair, and that her husband and lover had arranged her "martyrdom operation" as an honorable way to settle the matter. It is with such people, not with themselves, that Palestinian leaders attempt to demonstrate their own fearlessness.

Even the Rotary?

In case you were wondering why Hamas hates so broadly and were tempted to mourn Yassin's assisination here is a handy quote from the Hamas Covenant:
For a long time, the enemies have been planning, skillfully and with precision, for the achievement of what they have attained. They took into consideration the causes affecting the current of events. They strived to amass great and substantive material wealth which they devoted to the realisation of their dream. With their money, they took control of the world media, news agencies, the press, publishing houses, broadcasting stations, and others. With their money they stirred revolutions in various parts of the world with the purpose of achieving their interests and reaping the fruit therein. They were behind the French Revolution, the Communist revolution and most of the revolutions we heard and hear about, here and there. With their money they formed secret societies, such as Freemasons, Rotary Clubs, the Lions and others in different parts of the world for the purpose of sabotaging societies and achieving Zionist interests. With their money they were able to control imperialistic countries and instigate them to colonize many countries in order to enable them to exploit their resources and spread corruption there.
And there is so much more to read in this intriguing document. OK, drive the Jews into the sea....but the Rotary Clubs? The Lions.....

Not smart

Government MPs supported a Liberal motion allowing the inquiry to obtain general daily agendas for the former officials, but shot down a motion calling for more detailed evidence. Opposition MPs want telephone records, briefing notes and daytime planners that would show how closely Mr. Gagliano worked with the former Public Works official in charge of sponsorship grants.

The confrontation in the public accounts committee continued on the floor of the Commons, where Conservative Leader Stephen Harper suggested Mr. Gagliano lied during his testimony last week. Paul Martin, the Prime Minister, accused the Conservatives of trying to stretch out the committee testimony for partisan purposes.

Mr. Gagliano has told the committee he met Chuck Guite, the former head of the Public Works branch running the program, only four or five times a year.

That contradicted earlier testimony from Ranald Quail, the department's deputy minister, who said Mr. Gagliano worked closely with Mr. Guite. Another bureaucrat in the same branch is also expected to testify that Mr. Gagliano met Mr. Guite frequently when he was minister.
national post
It is time for the Liberals to realize that Gagliano is a liability and get out of the way of proving, one way or another, if he is telling the truth.

The Conservatives don't have to spin out the inquiry, all they have to do is show that the Liberals blocked attempts to get to the bottom of Adscam. In fact, from the Conservative's perspective, there is probably more political mileage from the Liberals trying to block evidence than from the evidence itself.

Now tell us where you really stand

There's just no end of amusement to be had from AdBuster's foray into anti-Semitism. Over at The Tyee, Deborah Campbell responded to my earlier comment regarding her association with AdBusters:
For the record, I do not decide what Adbusters prints any more than I decide what appears in the Tyee. As one of many contributors to the magazine, yet one who neither works in the office nor is involved in the magazine's production, mine is simply one of many viewpoints. As someone who has worked for the Canadian Jewish Congress, I don't countenance any sort of racism, though I do support freedom of speech--even Jay Currie's. I have written a book of reportage on the Mideast conflict and lived and studied in Israel. For Adbusters I write on such topics as the revolution in Georgia, the novels of JM Coetzee, and (upcoming) the media wars over the movie Citizen Kane. I take responsibility for my own words and mine alone. DC

Jay Currie, 3/24/2004 12:43:09 AM, writes:

So Deb, just for fun, and recognizing that you are all for freedom of speech, even mine, what is your purely personal position regarding AdBusters' publisher Kalle Lasn's editorial at Do you agree with Lasn? Are you happy to be associated with a magazine which holds these views?
As I said in my post yesterday,
I don't believe in guilt by association however, when your tag line reads "Deborah Campbell is an editor at Adbusters" my sense is that it's fairball to ask where that person stands on that magazine's loathsome campaign.
So now I've asked....we'll see what she says.

Next up: Civil War

While Yassin is being promoted as a religious leader and all round spiritual guy, in fact he was the controlling mind which has driven Hamas to the dominant position in Gaza. The Troll of Ramallah's (TM) writ does not run in the Gaza Strip and the spiritual leader effectively ran what little government there was in the area. Steve denBeste suggests:
There are Palestinians who want the war to end; there are some who are willing to accept a "two state" solution and to abandon the ambition of pushing Israel into the sea. But none of those who lead militant groups are yet thinking in those terms.

The reason we know that is that they have as yet refused to abandon their demand for the "right of return". We will know that the Palestinians have become sincere in wishing to seek a negotiated peace once they give up that demand. Until they do, all negotiations are hudna, insincere gestures intended to maintain initiative and to prevent the Israelis from forcing the pace of the war.
uss clueless
Hamas has a new leader whose first pronouncement was that he would never negotiate with Israel. (Tim Blair suggests sending messages of congratulation quickly.)

den Beste's main point is that the elimination of Yassim may be the catalyst for the Palestinian civil war which I have suggested is required for there to be much of a chance of peace.
If the leaders of various important Palestinian factions are new and relatively unknown, and their grip on power is weak, then not only will different groups contend with one another, but factions within those groups will also contend. And they will contend with guns and bombs, not with words and negotiations.

Once the Palestinians sink into the morass of civil war, inflicting far more casualties on each other than the Israelis ever did, the fiction of the "peace process" will be broken forever, exposed as the manipulative lie it always was. The international focus will cease to be on peace between Israel and the Palestinians, and instead on somehow pacifying the Palestinians themselves. And thus the fiction that the conflict can somehow be settled and Palestinian violence ended if only Israel can be pressured to make enough concessions will also be exposed as a lie.
What is evident at the moment, and has been since the Palestinians refused to implement either the Oslo accords or the roadmap, is that the present Palestinian leadership, for whatever reason, is incapable of actually agreeing to peace. Which means that there is no one to do a deal with.

The failure of the Palestinians to produce leaders who can make peace lies at the heart of the failure of the various peace efforts in the area. The Troll of Ramallah (TM) ceased to matter a year ago when he could not even lend his support to his hand picked Prime Minister. Hamas is an active opponent of peace.

Tragically, there will have to be a civil war so that the gunmen in Palestine are weakened if not destroyed. The Israelis cannot do this - the numbers involved are simply too large for the IDF to contemplate. But Israel can follow its course of disengagement and separation. How long that will have to last is impossible to tell. Likely a few years but it might be several decades before the Palestinians will tire of internal slaughter.

For Israel a Palestinian civil war, behind a large wall, is not an ideal solution; but it is a solution which will prevent the civil war from spilling over into Israel.

With luck, the Palestinians will eventually realize they are getting nowhere with the hardline no-negotiation routine, no where with the say one thing and do another scam, and will realize it is time to actually talk to Israel. By then most of the old guard Palestinian leaders will have been killed - either by Israel or by the fearsome faction fights which will take place behind the wall. With the gunmen dead it is just possible that a moderate Palestinian voice might emerge and not be shot by the hardliners. That voice is one which Israel and the rest of the world is longing to hear.


Walks like a duck....

Reza Safaei, a 46-year-old from Toronto, has been charged with three counts of mischief under $5,000.
globe and mail
Much as I despise the whole premise of hate crimes legislation....surely spray painting swastikas on Jewish owned construction sites would be, er, a hate crime under the Criminal Code. (s. 319 to be exact which is neatly summarized here:
The crime of "publicly inciting hatred" has four main elements. To contravene the Code, a person must:

* communicate statements,
* in a public place,
* incite hatred against an identifiable group,
* in such a way that there will likely be a breach of the peace.

Under section 319, "communicating" includes communicating by telephone, broadcasting or other audible or visible means; a "public place" is one to which the public has access by right or invitation, express or implied; and "statements" means words (spoken, written or recorded), gestures, and signs or other visible representations.
media awareness
Time for the Crown to step up and charge the man. Yeah, right.

Real War

Wretchard at Belmont Club casts the Yassin assasination and the Madrid bombings into a much needed larger context:
However, the struggle against terrorism now threatens to become a fight to the finish instead of a Cold War ballet of competition circumscribed by deterrence. Since Jihadistan has shown no inclination to settle for less than total victory, it invariably led to symmetrical American goals. September 11 proved that terrorism could not be contained. It had to be finished. A prescient European foreign policy would have realized on September 12 that this conflict structure would inevitably lead to a widening war, one that would engulf Europe's own borders. But it did not grasp the implications of the struggle in time. It is now terribly vulnerable to the tides of conflict that lap against its frontiers.
belmont club
This is the last thing the appeasers want to hear or to understand; but there is no room for negotiation with the likes of Al Qaeda or Hamas. There is no business to be done so it really does not matter if there are no headmen to fail to do it with.

Over at Winds of Change Joe Katzman puts it in the Israeli context:
Israel kills Hamas leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin in an airstrike. In return, Hamas vows bloody revenge.

Which means what, exactly? Ruthlessly murdering men, women, children and old people in calculated strikes? Committing to a goal of genocide and cleaning against Jews, regarding them as sub-human? Doing everything in their power to annihilate the Jewish state and its inhabitants?

As opposed to what would have happened if Israel had left Hamas and its leader alone, of course...

read the rest! ?

In which case Hamas would continue to ruthlessly murder men, women, children and old people in calculated strikes, remain committed to its long-standing goal of genocide and cleansing against sub-human Jews ("sons of apes and pigs"), and do everything in their power to annihilate the Jewish state and its inhabbitants.
In effect there is no downside for Isreal when it kills a murder monger like Yassim. Nor will there be a downside when Osama meets his bullet.

Bland Budget Blahs

Coyne gets the Liberal Party's budget politics about right
You know, they're not fools, these Liberals. If the Conservatives thought they could just ride into power on a wave of public revulsion at Adscam and related scandals, they should think again. There's a reason why the Grits have won all those elections.
andrew coyne
He also suggests that the Conservatives have to stop running away from engaging the Liberals for fear of being called extreme. Right again. But my sense is that the discomfort of the Conservatives is even more acute.

Up until the end of February it was a pretty good bet that the Conservatives would elect a leader and then lose the next election with a degree of dignity. This would have given them an opportunity to ditch the residual socon legacy of the Reform and Alliance and get down to creating an alternative vision for Canada. Martin would serve his single term and the Conservatives would have an excellent chance of winning the following election.

Adscam upset this calculation. The Grits begin to look vunerable and Martin looks less inevitable - perhaps an illusion; but one which will set the Conservative operatives on the scent of blood. If they can just keep the country focused on Adscam then the poverty and contradictions of their own current policy positions might just remain their little secret.

If there is an election which might actually be won there is the danger that the Conservatives will propose nothing at all for fear of offending the sturdy voters of the GTO and the Maritimes. Anything to avoid giving the Liberals the ability to get out the extremist whitewash.

The great challenge for the Conservatives is to give up any hope of winning this next election. Because that hope will colour every bit of policy and platform, every speech and every ad. It will drive the Conservatives to the mushy center where the Grits will simply say, "they have no platform, no reason to govern...we do, and we have the experience and the savvy Canada needs". It will be a slaughter but, worse, it will not advance the Conservative Party one inch towards forming a government. Because the Liberals will be right.

Goodale has proposed a budget which keeps taxes high, the debt unpaid and government spending as a percentage of GNP roughly the same. Each position is open to attack. Each is open to counter proposals.

The test for the new Conservative Party is whether it is going to follow the old time PC strategy of sailing just slightly to starboard of the Grits hoping for the occasional wind shift to pop them into office, or if they are willing to sail their own course according to their own reading of how best to govern Canada. Yelling "Me too, but better" will leave them a perpetual also ran.

At root, the Conservatives must decide, as the NDP under Layton have done, whether they are courageous or cautious. Both routes can win elections. But only courage will create an alternative governing party.

A shooting war

No less a lefty than Robert Fisk manages to almost figure out the implications of the assasination of Sheikh Yassin
No one has begun to work out the implications of all this. For years, there has been an unwritten rule in the cruel war of government-versus-guerrilla. You can kill the men on the street, the bomb-makers and gunmen, but the leadership was allowed to survive.

Now all has changed utterly. Anyone who advocates violence - even if they are palpably incapable of committing it - are now on a death list. So who can be surprised if the rules are broken by the other side?
the star
Er, yes Bob. After decades of inaction some people have recognized that shooting the gunmen and the suicide bombers on the way to scatter a few body parts was not working.

There may have been a time when the logic of leaving terrorist leaders alive so that they could negotiate an end to the terror they were creating made sense. But Osama does not seem to be a negotiation sort of chap. Yassin would not even accept the Oslo accords and preached against the roadmap. The Troll of Ramallah (TM) should certainly be on the list simply because he is no longer worth negotiating with as he has yet to implement a single step required by the roadmap.

When negotiation is futile it becomes time to stop shooting the foot soldiers and start shooting the generals.

And as for that sly little dig about not being surprised if the rules are broken by the other side: tell it to Musharraf. I rather doubt that Hamas would be adverse to a shot at Sharon or Bush. It has never been an axion of the Islamofascist terrorists that only foot soldiers and civilians be killed - it is merely a reflection of their present inability to hit hard targets. Far easier to blow up trains in Spain than shoot Tony Blair.

Good Enemies

Writing at TechCentralStation, Ilya Shapiro notes the scorn with which the United States is treated by the intellectual elites throughout the world,
In the end, anti-Americanism boils down to the timeless disgust with America's daring to export its idea of liberty to the four corners of the globe. Whether via gunboat diplomacy, realpolitik, humanitarian intervention, or the current blend of preemptive strikes and trade liberalization -- despite intermittent rollbacks at the behest of groaning industrial-age unions and its John Edwards demagogues -- it is anathema to the Old World mind (and its Rousseauean influence in the New World) that a nation would choose to pursue other than parochial mercantilist interests. This is why French companies violated the sanctions against post-Gulf War Iraq while the chattering class decried the Yankee drive to trade blood for oil. It is why Vladimir Putin is a supposedly faithful partner in the war against Islamic terrorism while selling nuclear reactors to Iran. And it is the reason that, unfortunately, Europeans consider the United States to be the second-most dangerous country in the world -- second only to the sole democracy in the Middle East.
One of the interesting questions which the American Presidential election will bring up is the gulf between those who care about what the European and other intellectual elites think and those who don't. My sense is that Bush loses not a second's sleep over the world historical views of Harold Pinter or Noam Chomsky. Senator Kerry? Given that he keeps talking about internationalizing assorted conflicts it is reasonable to assume he is more concerned.

It comes down to a matter of vision: Kerry seeks to restrain American power by arguing that America can't do what needs to be done on its own and that, therefore, it needs allies. Which means it needs to pay attention to the views of those allies which will tend to redefine "what needs to be done". To take the obvious case, if Kerry were to have been President a couple of years ago it is a pretty safe bet that Saddam would still be in power in Iraq as America would have listened to France and Germany and Russia and so on. One of the threads in the American political debate seems to be that the unilateralism which lead to Saddam's removal is a bad thing (although the removal itself tends to be seen as good.) Kerry appears to want to avoid ever again making a geopolitical move without the support of the Europeans and the United Nations.

Of course, practically, this means that America might as well stand down its armed forces and recall its diplomats as the Europeans and the United Nations will never agree to the exercise of American power. While there would be a good deal of chat, it is difficult to imagine the French or the Russians or the Chinese not taking advantage of a situation in which America voluntarily agrees to international supervision of its foreign policy. They would be idiots not to take such advantage.

Which is, of course, why the idea of internationalizing control of American power is so appealing to the Left. If there is a single issue which needs to be decided in the forthcoming election it is simply which of the competing visions of American power the American people feel most comfortable with.

Pope Noam

Over at the tyee Deborah Campbell tries to inject a bit of life into the Noam Chomsky's standard rant about just how darn evil America is. (So evil that they have yet to silence Chomsky. ) Campbell confirms what a close analysis of Chomsky's thought suggests: believing this amounts to a religious rather than political affirmation of faith:
Of course, like the Pope, Chomsky went over the stories we already know. It was a kind of liturgy for leftists, reminding everyone of the facts about American interventionism around the world and about the corporate media not telling us about what's really going on.
Interestingly, Campbell is an editor for the anti-Semitic AdBusters magazine and it would be fascinating to know whether a) she associates herself with AdBusters "out the Jews" campaign, b) if she doesn't, what steps she has taken to distance herself from that campaign.

I don't believe in guilt by association however, when your tag line reads "Deborah Campbell is an editor at Adbusters" my sense is that it's fairball to ask where that person stands on that magazine's loathsome campaign.


Good Shooting!

The death of Sheikh Ahmed Yassin founder of Hamas will not likely lead to peace in the Middle East. It will not likely end the homicide bombings. It will not likely cause the Palistinians to seeth any less...But it was a vital response to a man for whom random murder was an instrument of policy. The elimination of the terrorist leadership is critical if there is ever to be a non-violent solution in the Middle East.


Well that was fun. I hit a tiny cash crunch which meant my ISP went unpaid for a week and a half. Restored now. I had been thinking of taking a blogging break in any case - simply because I wanted to get other work done - and this was the moment.

Living without the net is an interesting and, to a degree, unnerving experience. As we don't really get newspapers on the island it meant relying on radio and television news. Bizarre.

When you get your news from the net you are used to being able to find out more. Basically you construct your own news. Having television news morons cover the attack in Spain or the Spanish election result to take an example meant I felt a sense of being given, at best, half the story.

The other thing which is odd is not being able to get instant and smart commentary. It is not so much that I missed blogging, although I did, it was that I missed reading other people's blogs.

But, ok, back now....ranting and raving will recommence shortly.